FROM STEVE BRENNER AT AT&T STADIUM
IT sadly wasn’t to be for Liam Smith.
The Scouser put on one hell of a brave show here in Dallas in front of 50,000 screaming Mexican fans desperate to see their hero Canelo Alvarez become a three time world champion.
Beefy, rocking up as the WBO light-middleweight champ, was on the back foot from the start with Canelo’s power and punching ability fearsomely accurate.
Yet Smith is no pushover. Far from it.
Rounds four and five were much better for the Brit.
Canelo was especially rocked on the ropes at the end of the fifth and look rattled.
Remember Amir Khan was absolutely destroyed by this flame haired fighting machine in May. There was none of that here.
Smith was more than holding his own yet as the fight began to stretch towards the ninth, only a stoppage for the Liverpudlian , who was bleeding from a cut near the bridge of his nose, would have done the trick.
Unfortunately for the Scouser and his fans here, a crunching left hook to the body , the third time he was forced to the canvas , was to end his dream.
“I am very disappointed , he was too good and too skillful, I was too slow, ” admitted Smith.
“My timing was off. I hit him with some jabs but I would have needed better timing to be more competitive.
“If I had more experience I would perhaps have been able to fight a guy like that.”
“I started to control it but I hurt my hand in the second so I had to use my left more. I felt he was very strong at the beginning so had to keep going for the body, “ added the Mexican who has now won 48 from 50 bouts.
This was Beefy’s third defence of the title he won against John Thompson in October 2015. Jimmy Kelly was stopped two months later before a crunching second knock-out took care of Pedrag Radosevic earlier this year.
Taking on Alvarez , however, was a totally different kettle of fish. The Mexican has stood toe-to-toe with the likes of Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto and Shane Mosley.
Canelo has world class experience. Smith doesn’t.
Well, he does now.
Whenever Mexico’s finest was beamed onto the outrageously huge screens in this state-of-the-art stadium, the crowd went wild.
The celebrations for Friday’s Mexican Independence day carried on here right from the off.
Smith , cheered on my close pal Steven Gerrard who flew in from LA to be ringside, didn’t care one bit.
Beefy has oozed confidence all week.
Now , though , it was crunch time.
Canelo’s power close up really was something. He was relentless and hunted Beefy like a dog. A series of uppercuts and body shots rocked the 28 year-old.
But he stressed in the build up he was just turning up for the fiesta. He was here to fight.
And so it proved.
The problem was , Canelo’s power was simply too much to handle.
The fourth and fifth were arguably Beefy’s yet as the fight wore on, there was only going to be one winner.
Smith was down. Yet he is not out. Canelo is a beast, one of the best on the planet right now. That clash with Gennady Golovkin , allegedly penciled in for next year, which the world is praying for will be one hell of a tear-up .
The Scouser though can leave Cowboy country with his head held high.
There was no disgrace in this defeat.